life, non-fiction, personal writing

her smile

August 25, 2019

I was busy with myself, getting settled. Thinking about this and that. I don’t really like the hand-shaking. Seems unnecessary, but it’s what you do. So I turned to the left. To a young girl, around ten. A tender age. And a face looking up to me with sweetness and a ready smile. Then the mom. Like her daughter, a smile full of joy. A smile that went all the way to her eyes and to the far reaches of her face. Yes, some faces wear a smile end to end, and that was hers. No averted eyes, no reticence. A full smile, eyeball to eyeball. And her face was radiant, beautiful in the most natural way. She wore a black wrap on her head.

I turned back to myself. Who knows what I was thinking.

Time passed and it was time for our row to get up. The father, dark hair, maybe in his 40s. The girl. And then the mother, using a cane. Her pants, khaki slacks, the kind with a gathered waist, were easily three sizes too big. Like she’d lost 30 or 40 pounds. She didn’t look strong, as if walking was a struggle. There are times in life when reality smacks you in a flash, straight to your core. I don’t know what we’re supposed to feel, I’m not sure I could describe what I did feel. It felt numbing, and stunning, overwhelming, sad, desperate.

We made our way back. I think her face wasn’t smiling anymore. But it was beautiful in the most natural way.

life, nature, winter


Winter’s not the favorite, is it? It’s a cold, austere reality.

A lot of us, though, we need the winter months. Like bulbs, or trees, we need a bit of cold. We need a dormant period. We need the winter.

I do a lot of fall photos. The changing leaves and autumn colors make a lovely picture. But honestly, I don’t like fall.


Other sorrows.

Fall leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Like I’m trying my best to hold on to summer, and it’s hopeless. Like I’m not ready. I’m stubborn and refusing. Refusing to turn my head. Refusing what lies ahead, I suppose. Like a little kid who’s stubborn and refusing to take medicine. Mouth shut tight. The head jerks left, then right.

That’s how I engage with fall.

But winter to me is fresh. It’s snowed in and pulling on a heavy blanket. It’s sloppy clothes and old movies. It’s night-time, and it’s dark, and it’s sledding down a hill with nothing but worn-out bell-bottom jeans and a floppy piece of card-board between your butt and that cold frozen ground.

It’s necessary.

colors, essay, life, photography


I popped the button on the car radio, and heard John Lennon’s voice. He was in the middle of a comment about doing music, painting, etc. He said these were the chocolate in life. I can’t find his words online, so I hope I’m not mis-quoting him too badly.

When I look out at the waterfront scene in this picture, I see color, energy, passion. Luster.

Without all the red, though, the umbrellas, the chairs, what’s there? Something serene, scenic. Quiet, pretty.


There are parts of our lives, parts of us, parts of what we do, the way we live, that give us luster, don’t you think?

Like a fine piece of chocolate.